Brandywine volleyball has three All-Region players returning

Published 10:06 am Friday, December 10, 2004

By By ADAM FISHER / Niles Daily Star
Brandywine volleyball coach Gary Whitney thinks his team has a leg up on the competition this season, which begins Saturday when the Bobcats play in the Kalamazoo Hackett tournament.
Not only do the Bobcats return three All-Region selections from last year's 30-16-5 squad, but most of this year's players have experience playing at the club level. That experience will be important this year because it is the first season the Michigan High School Athletic Association will use rally scoring.
In the rally scoring system, teams don't have to be serving to earn a point.
They will be penalized for missed serves, and let serves, ones that touch the net, will be live balls.
Whitney said Brandywine is lucky to have girls who have played at the club level, where rally scoring is used, because most schools don't have that luxury.
The Bobcats will be led again this year by three-time All-Conference and All-State selection Emily Whitney. After playing outside attacker a year ago, Whitney makes the move to setter this season.
She played setter her freshman and sophomore years but Whitney, Emily's father, said the Bobcats needed her offense last season. This year, he said, they need her back at setter.
Whitney is coming off a torn ACL she suffered in the spring while playing for Brandywine's soccer team.
She had surgery in the offseason, and this week her doctor cleared her to play in Saturday's season opener at the Kalamazoo Hackett tournament.
Also returning from the All-Region team is senior outside attacker Nikki Cooper. Whitney said Cooper will be one of Brandywine's primary passers this year. She was also named to the Lakeland Conference's second team last season.
Middle blocker Katie Tuohy is the third All-Region senior back for the Bobcats. She also made second team All-Conference last season.
She is joined by junior Nikki Martyniuk for what Whitney called the best middle blocker tandem in the conference.
The Bobcats' goal this season, as it is every season, is to win the Lakeland championship. Brandywine has come close under Whitney before, but never gotten over the hump in his three years.
The Bobcats' second goal is to win districts. They lost in the semifinals last year to eventual champion Watervliet, and won the title in 2002 and 2003.